Honda to Expand North America Production With New Indiana Plant

By: Lauren Woods

Asian brands have been taking over the U.S. auto market and the pack is led by Toyota. But another brand from the Orient is already enjoying success in the U.S. and this brand is Honda - Japan's second largest car manufacturer.

Recently, the company has expanded their investment in the United States by starting the process of putting up another assembly plant in Indiana at a groundbreaking ceremony. The new plant embodies the $550 million investment by Honda which will provide thousands of jobs for Americans in the Indiana area.

In connection with the groundbreaking ceremony, Honda announced that the plant will be producing Honda Civic sedans for the 2009 model year when it starts its operations in the fall of 2008. It was also announced that the plant will be called the Honda Manufacturing of Indiana, LLC or HMIN.

The plants first president will be Yuzo Uenohara who served as the senior vice president at another Honda plant in Alabama. Uenohara will be in charge of more than 2,000 associates to be hired by the company for the plant. The plant is estimated to produce 200,000 vehicles every year upon completion. This Honda facility will address the increasing demand for Honda vehicles which are known to be fuel-efficient.

The plant is currently under construction and located on a 1,700 acre field in Decatur County, Indiana near the town of Greensburg. The area will greatly benefit from the plant since aside from the more than 2,000 associates (Honda calls its employees associates) that will be directly hired by the company, the plant will also generate hundreds of jobs more.

Koichi Kondo, the President and Chief Executive Officer of American Honda Motor Co., has this to say about the new plant: "In Indiana we will create an efficient and flexible manufacturing environment that is a great place for everyone to work. In this way, we are breaking ground for more than an auto plant. We are breaking new ground in our relationship with the people of Indiana and our customers in America."

This statement seems aimed at the current heat that Asian brands are taking from the Big Three car manufacturers based in the U.S. namely General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler.

The new facility will become the seventh auto plant of Honda located in North America. It will increase the production output of American Honda from 1.4 million units per year to 1.6 million. The number of associates in the United States will also increase to a total of more than 37,000. This shows that Honda is providing a lot of jobs for Americans amid the claim that Asian brands are negatively affecting the economy of the country.

The investment of Honda in the continent will reach $9 billion with the construction of the new plant. The plant will be performing the whole nine yards in the assembly process of automobiles including stamping, welding, painting, plastic injection molding, sub-assembly, and final assembly.

The Honda Civic sedans to be produced at the Indian plant will be equipped with engines produced by their engine plant in Anna, Ohio. Other parts like components will come from the more than 600 North American suppliers which have partnered with Honda.

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